Despite heavy Russian losses on the ground and difficulties in conquering the Donbass, could Transnistria become a new front of the Russian invasion of Ukraine?
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One thing is for sure, the people of the region are increasingly concerned, testifies Thierry Ernst, president of the NGO Vent d’Est in Moldova.
The man, who lives less than 5km from Transnistria, sees the fears being felt on the ground.
“Transnistria is leaving Transnistria en masse. There are traffic jams at the border crossings,” he explained in an interview with Quebec Matin.
“We don’t know the future, but we do know something is going to happen. We’re almost convinced… What? We do not know. It could take the form of a coup d’état, destabilization or a direct attack by the Russians… we don’t know,” admits Thierry Ernst.
The land bank between Ukraine and Moldova was the target of blasts on Monday and Tuesday, and according to Dominique Arel, Chair of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Ottawa, fears of a Russian conquest of the region are well founded.
“This area has not been controlled by Moldova for 30 years. It’s remained relatively quiet for 30 years, it’s a kind of ‘no man’s land’, but with 12,000 soldiers on site, probably local people who belong to the Russian army,” explains Mr. Arel in an interview with Mario Dumont.
“We see the same pattern again, Russia and the puppet regime in Transnistria claiming the Ukrainians just attacked them. Which of course is absurd. Why would Ukrainians want to open a new front? When you hear that, it’s a harbinger of the opposite. There could be an attack by the Russian army stationed in Transnistria. Why? Because they are very close to Odessa and the Russians are trying to conquer the whole south,” explains the expert.
The Russians attempted to conquer Odessa via the Black Sea but failed as the sinking of the Moscow River was widely seen as a humiliation for Russia and its fleet.
Russia claims the ship sank due to exploding ammunition on board and poor weather conditions hampered towing operations. But Ukraine says it sank the building with rockets.